Carlos, Panama asked:
Just as flamingoes are pink because they eat krill, penguins get the yellow spot on their face from the same source, would the same thing happen to humans?
We put this to Dr Stephen Juan, Ashley Montagu Fellow for Public Understanding of Human Sciences at the University of Sydney.
There are substances that can turn your skin different colours. One of the most famous ones is carotenemia which is when you eat too many carrots. Your skin can turn yellowish or orange. Itís a benign condition, doesnít seem to be related to anything but if you eat too many carrots the beta carotene builds up in your system and you turn into the colour of a carrot: first a little yellow and then a little orange. There was an interesting study in 2006 in Paediatric Dermatology by Royal Liverpool Hospital that showed that carotenemia can come from eating green beans as well. There are other vegetables as well like yams itís been known to happen where the colour can change and some other fruits as well. Yes, you have to be very careful. Of course itís going to show up in lighter skinned people first but itíll happen to anybody. By the way, speaking of carrots the old question is what about carrots improving eyesight? Yes, carrots do improve the eyesight a little bit but only if you are vitamin A deficient to begin with.
I remember watching John Craven's Newsround when I was little and seeing a boy who was orange through over-fondness with the aforementioned orange root vegetables... chris, Tue, 17th Mar 2009
haha the chik off of willy wonka found that out tha hard way! lol tony6789, Wed, 18th Mar 2009
Eating or breathing in silver can (if enough is ingested) cause a condition known as Argyria which can turn a person's skin blue or blue-grey - to my knowledge the condition is permanent. Hamstah, Wed, 18th Mar 2009
I attended the US Naval Nuclear Power School many years ago and shared a dormitory with loads of pre-nuclear nut cases.
That is a fantastic story - what was in the crisps for Heavens' sake? chris, Thu, 19th Mar 2009
What we eat can surely affect the color of our skin. About 25 years ago a good friend of mine consumed one quart of carrot juice daily because he thought it was good for him. After a month or two, we all noticed that his skin developed a very distinct orange hue. We still laugh about this and refer to it as his orange period. He stopped drinking the carrot juice after this and his skin returned to a more normal shade after a while.
And I just wonder what would happen if the krill ate the carrots... or the flamingos ate the carrots... Emilio Romero, Mon, 23rd Mar 2009
The argyria thing. The funny thing is after you've taken lots of silver, you only develop the colour when you go out in the Sun.